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JWT conceptualises campaign to address India’s e-waste crisis

In an endeavour to address the e-waste crisis in the country, International Finance Corporation (a member of the World Bank Group) and Karo Sambhav, a tech-enabled Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) launched a consumer awareness campaign titled ‘E-waste Hum Le Jayenge’. The campaign will educate  consumers of electronic and electrical devices about the right practice of disposing their e-waste as well as inform them about the environmental and health hazards of irresponsible e-waste recycling.

During the build-up to the campaign, a consumer immersion was undertaken amongst multiple stakeholders involved in creating, hoarding and collecting e-waste. It was observed that not only awareness of e-waste management was low but also it was fascinating to discover that people had an unsullied mindset, where they didn’t realize they were doing anything wrong by not disposing e-waste responsibly. We needed an approach that would make people want to participate in the cause, create an intent to mend their ways and be more conscious of the right way to dispose.

The campaign will be promoted through digital, social media and radio platforms to create widescale awareness around responsible and effective e-waste management across the country. The campaign will engage with individual consumers, bulk consumers (universities, corporates, etc.) and policy makers so that all stakeholders in the ecosystem can collectively address the e-waste crisis. The campaign will be initially promoted in Delhi, Chandigarh, Bengaluru and Chennai and will be adapted in four languages (Hindi, English, Kannada and Tamil) during the outreach.

Sharing his views on the critical need of addressing India’s e-waste crisis, Pranshu Singhal, Founder, Karo Sambhav, said,” Discussions on e-waste management have largely been confined to experts and industry stakeholders and it is yet to become a mainstream topic. We need to engage creatively with people and drive long-term behavioural shifts. This campaign aims to build an e-waste movement in India.”

The campaign has been designed by J Walter Thompson and   aims to create top-of-the-mind recall by building relevance for the Indian consumers, while providing a clear call-to-action to dispose e-waste responsibly through e-waste collection channels set up by Karo Sambhav.

Speaking about the campaign, Joy Chauhan, Managing Partner, J. Walter Thompson, Delhi, said, “E-waste management is a complex ecosystem with multiple stakeholders, involved in generation of e-waste and its unsafe disposal. Our campaign’s objective was to cut through all segments in a way that is simple to understand and easy to follow.  To resonate with all the different stakeholders and public at large, and to reframe the technology / environment conversation in order to make it more exciting, more relevant and more engaging – we took to pervasive cinema culture of India. We believe it would help create a positive dialogue for the program and bring the issue to fore.”

Currently, India is generating around 1.8 million tonnes of e-waste annually and with a growth rate of 30%, e-waste generation is expected to reach by 5 million tonnes by 2020. Rapidly evolving consumer technology has further paved the way for a significant rise in the number of old and unusable electronic appliances and gadgets, irresponsibly disposed by  consumers. As per a recent ASSOCHAM report, out of the total e-waste generated in the country, only 1.5 % gets recycled leading to a waste of natural resources, while the rest finds its way to landfill or they are burned and treated in a sub-standard way, polluting the land, air and water.

Speaking about the need of collective efforts from all stakeholders in the ecosystem, Sarina Bolla, Program Manager for IFC’s India E-waste Program, said “E-waste is the fastest growing waste stream globally; building awareness about proper management of e-waste is essential to meeting our goal of building a sustainable long term solution for India.  The campaign will engage with multiple stakeholders to change how we address the current challenges in this sector”

As part of the larger mission to curb e-waste, Karo Sambhav has collaborated with 17 producers, 1214 schools, 520 bulk consumers, 1007 repair shops, 1528 waste aggregators, 2274 waste pickers and has set up 266 collection points across the country. Through its partnership with IFC, Karo Sambhav is setting-up a robust India-wide transformative solution on e-waste management with the aim of making recycling a way of life.

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